IPB

Benvenuto Visitatore ( Log In | Registrati )

Seguici su:    
 
Closed TopicStart new topic
> [REVIEW] AceKard R.P.G. - 8G PRO
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 10:23
Messaggio #1

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




AceKard R.P.G. - 8G PRO
[ English Version | Versione Italiana ]


Quick Links
Homepage: www.acekard.com
System Updates: GbaRL.it Download Archive


Our thanks to Acekard Team and their outlet BambooGaming.com for the sample provided.

A long time has passed since the first Slot-1 design was unveiled to scene sites: after the first, awkward attempts, every major manufacturer has opted for this format, releasing more and more perfect units, free of problems and pre-processing steps. Obviously, we've now come to the point where adding new features is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Many of you are already aware of Team Acekard, whose curtain call was a Slot-1 solution, called AceKard+, although its popularity wasn't too high. Now, after 10 months worth of development, they're back, taking the scene by storm with an atypical flashcard: the AceKard R.P.G.

Introduction & Features

The acronym in the name stands for Real Play Gear, meaning that this product, in the manufacturer's intentions, is aimed towards maximum simplicity for unexperienced users, as well as full flexibility for hackers and more expert developers, with solid support to both games and homebrew code.


At the time of this review, the flashcard is not yet available for purchase: the sample we've been given by the AK Team, even though fully completed and stable on the hardware side, is having its packaging still being defined. Those aspects will be further developed through our review.

For now, let's take a look at the declared features for this card:
  • Dual Memory System: an internal high-speed NAND memory chip with a capacity of 8 Gbit (1 Gbyte) and a dedicated slot for external microSD/TF memory card
  • SDHC Support: the latest evolution of the Secure Digital standard allows for storage medias up to 8 Gbytes to be used with the R.P.G., leading to massive amounts of space
  • Full Compatibility: 100% support for Clean Dump, no need for external patchers
  • DLDI Autopatching: homebrew code will be automatically patched with the relevant DLDI driver, making its use immediate and hassle-free
  • PassCard: the card doubles as a third generation PassCard device, useful for booting Slot-2 flash cartridges
  • “Quick Exchange” Technology: games, programs and saves can be swapper between NAND and microSD card without resorting to a PC
  • Auto Save Type Detection: the game/homebrew's save type is automatically determined, although the user can set a different size if he so wishes
  • U-Disk: the NAND chip can be used as a flash drive, using the on-board mini USB connector (USB 2.0)
  • Auto Trimming: games are freed of redundant data when copied to and from the NAND flash
  • Open Source OS: the system software, easily skinnable and with full touchscreen controls, can be freely modified via the publicly released source code (a copy of which is hosted in our own File Archive)
  • "Write Balance" Technology: the NAND memory life is extended via a smart management of read/write operations
  • Direct savegames backup: instead of relying on battery-backed RAM, savegames are stored in the internal EEPROM, then written to media as the console is switched back on
That's not the end of it: the above list, which applies to retail units, is expanded with upcoming features, such as multiple saver files and Action Replay cheating support. Indeed, the card's features have impressed us, due to being the first adding peculiar characteristics to the one now common to flash kits: we're talking, for example, of its dual memory system and full OS-based file management, along with the open sourcecode.

Update - 24/02/2008: we can confirm how those promises have been kept in full. The open-source philosophy, along with the manufacturer's dedication, noticeably lengthened this list. Now AR cheats are fully supported, along with user-created shortcuts, DS-Linux can now take advantage of both data storages and, particularly impressive, the EZ V 3-in-1 is supported straight out of the box, even automatically patching most GBA games. Something we weren't expecting, we have to admit: it's the first time we witness such a powerful system software.

On paper, this is a high-end dev kit, easy to use and with special features geared towards hackers and programmers alike. Is that the truth? We'll soon find out.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 14:17
Messaggio #2

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




Inside the Box


As usual, the sample reached us carefully wrapped in DHL envelopes: as a sidenote, after more than twenty reviews, this express courier looks like the favorite, for flashcard manufacturers. Anyway, after a few well-placed cuts, the AceKard R.P.G. slips out and lands on our table, the same you can see in the screenshots below.


A fixed element of flashcards is their packaging, almost always belonging to one of two extremes: either too colorful and crammed with pictures, icons and such, or sober and essential, to the point of leaving the user uninformed of the kit's full potential. This product stands in the middle, with a clean and simple design, withtout leaving anything out of the feature list printed on it.
The outer shell is a simple cardboard wrap, with open sides to let the inner casing, which we'll soon examine, slip out. The front obviously shows the card's name and its size and a strip of colored icons summarizing the main features; immediately below, the R.P.G. acronym is explained, along with a standard slogan: the bottom part shows, as it's now becoming common, the microSD, microSD HC and WiFi compatibility logos (keep in mind that "WiFi" refers to the DS' multiplayer capabilities, not to the R.P.G. itself!), along with the usual "for NDS-NDS Lite" formula.

On the back, free space has been highly optimized, showing a well-arranged feature list, ranging from tech data to end-user ones, such as game compatibility, audio and movie playback, support for picture viewing and text reading. To be honest, these features were not immediately available on our unit, as will become clear during the unit's field test.





Once you're done with the outer layer, you'll be holding a white plastic casing housing the flashcard: its 3.5 x 2.9 inches make it vaguely resemble older Sega Megadrive/Genesis game cartridges, to tell the truth. It might not be as sturdy as those metal boxes some manufacturers have opted for, neverthless you can take the R.P.G. with you without having to keep it inserted into your DS. Also, there's enough space to fit a few additional game cartridges.
Once opened, we got our first negative impression regarding this AceKard R.P.G.: the contents are severely lacking. One one hand, we weren't expecting useless software discs, on the other hand though we expected to find at least the required accessories: inside, a bubble wrap protects the flashcard itself, whereas on the side we found an additional sticker and a strip of paper with "BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU DISASSEMBLE THE SHELL. CONTACT US FOR MENU SOFTWARE" written on it.

And nothing more. That's all, folks.

Granted, we immediately informed the manufacturer of our surprise, quickly receiving an answer: this particular package is expressely geared towards reviewing, which explains the warning concering disassembling the shell (this is an operation we don't normally carry out, since an average user hardly cares about inner circuits - and it's never a good practice messing with these devices' circuit board) and the need to obtain system software from the team. We've been assured that the final release will include a mini USB cable, mandatory for PC-to-card data trasfers, but neither a software CD nor differently colored shells will be available. Luckily, black is always aesthetically pleasant, whereas a data cable is a much more pressing need. In the end, we don't consider our evaluation of the packaging to be conclusive, as of now.
An interesting thing we've noticed is how the various pieces are arranged inside the casing: the R.P.G. is housed in the top left corner, whereas a second outline, obviously GBA cart sized, makes up the whole right side; as this PRO edition is the first in the R.P.G. series, we're sure an Expansion Pack is not a remote possibility, even though the overall size matches the DS Lite Slot 2 (we tried with a F-Zero cart and it didn't fit). Time will tell!





Now, the flashcard itself: (almost) identical to a standard issue Nintendo cartridge, with the sticker curiously applied to the inner face instead of the larger outer side. And, believe me, you'll curse that sticker often, beginning with the fact that it adds one millimeter too much to the overall thickness, making insertion and extraction troublesome on first attempts.
The shell is made out of see-through black plastic: it feels sturdy and without creakings whatsoever, resisting scratches and other common accidents, though the four clips holding the two halves in place are a bit too tiny; were you tempted to open up the unit, we recommend extreme caution, as there are no replacements. The mini-B connector and microSD slot are on each side of the top face, excellent choice if you consider, for example, a DS-X, where the slim borders of the data port, located right in the middle, are prone to cutting through your skin when applying pressure. And now, the reason why that sticker is such a nuisance: it partially covers them. True, this isn't much of an issue for the USB cable, but the memory slot is a whole different matter: it's spring-loaded, but locking the microSD in place requires pushing it even past the upper face of the card, and its slightly larger dimensions require some caution not to force it in diagonally. That doesn't pose a problem if you use your fingernails and pay attention to what you're doing, though; point is, the sticker loosely adheres to the memory card's surface, so for the first 2-3 days the spring won't be able to fully eject the microSD. It's no big deal, if you resist the urge to just rip it out of its slot, and will eventually disappear with time.

This R.P.G. is a dual memory flashcard, taking advantage of the newest integrated flash storage media: the NAND memory chip. Without delving deeper into technical details, know that this chip offers better performance when compared to older EEPROM and NorFlash, with more storage space and faster read/write times; in addition, it is much less prone to performance decreases and general failures, made even more unlikely by the team's Write Balance Technology.
Be advised, though: the mini USB connector is wired to the NAND chip only: you won't be able to use it to access the microSD; this basically means you'll need an external card reader, which you can pick up online for as little as 1$. We would've been delighted to find one shipeed with the unit, but we can hardly imagine how they could squeeze it into its small package.


In the end, the appearance of the product is well-though of, although we hope the meager content will be upgraded to include at least the data cable. A whole different situation when picking up the flashcard, well built and capable of sustaining hits and scratches (of course, don't push it to the limit! It came out of a 5ft fall unscathed, that much we can say), although there are some complaints regarding the microSD slot.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 19:42
Messaggio #3

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




Getting Started

After describing the hardware, here comes the software.
The AceKard R.P.G. shows its Slot-1 nature: no patcher, no writer, plain old drag & drop. Every file, games and homebrews alike, needs no more than to be copied into either the NAND or microSD memory to work, without additional patches or programs. Noteworthy is the now more and more common DLDI auto patching ffeature, which will be further explored when testing homebrews.





First thing first, we had to get a mini USB cable, like the one pictured: as the R.P.G. unit we received didn't ship with one, we used the cord bundled with our DS-X sample, but you can easily pick one up for a buck or so, or just use the same data cable that comes with your DAP or mobile phone; if you got any next-generation device, chances are you'll find it. Again, as our card didn't come with the system software installed, we did so by copying it into the microSD and, after ensuring it worked, moving it permanently into the NAND, just for the heck of it.



Windows Vista automatically detects the R.P.G. as a RPGKard, installing the relevant driver and allowing its use as a removable disk, FAT-formatted and with an overall available space of roughly 950 Mb. Opening it, we were greeted by a lonely text file, reminding us that we had to contact the team for a copy of the OS.
Our tests were conducted with the latest software build prior to its public release as v4.01, graciously provided by AK Team: what you read is what you'll get when you purchase the unit! smile.gif

As we said, it comes in two flavors: the public build is made of a .nds file, named akmenuX.nds, with X as the release branch number, and a folder named _rpg which contains language packs, system settings, skin files and other runtime components, which will also be copied to the mcroSD at its first use.

Available languages are french, english, spanish, dutch, italian, japanese and both chinese versions, whereas two DLDI drivers, hidden among the other configuration files, take care of homebrew patching for both the NAND and microSD.
The skinning engine is fascinatingly easy to use: two color schemes are available by default, the first being a The Legend of Zelda green and yellow one and a much darker (almost goth) black skin, both of which can be used as a template to build custom GFX from scratch. Modders and creative minds rejoice: given that you know how to get the hex value for your favorite color, all you have to do in order to build a new skin is creating the graphical elements (again, make sure you use the default schemes for reference) and editing the .ini file containing text color information, in a fashion we found amusingly similar to building a CSS file for a website.

The akmenu.nds file is the card's core, much like a firmware, and it's available for editing only via source code: a pleasant surprise was to find out it is based on libnds, a powerful library widely spread among the highest ranked homebrew devs, which will be able to make their unit truly unique, freely adding features, correcting bugs and integrating programs, without having to learn a new scripting language. Freedom of use is a strong point of this card, being a never seen before feature.

Now, about the actual file transfer process: we carried out our tests using a 10 Mbytes file (Gyakuten Saiban 3 dump), a 120 Mbytes one (Elite Beat Agents overdump) and a 20 Mbyes folder (homebrew, mp3's and assorted junk). The USB 2.0 standard has been well implemented, with an average of 6 Mbytes/sec in the first two instances and an acceptable 500 Kbyte/sec for an entire folder's transfer; a satisfying performance, although speeds take a dive when moving entire directory trees, proportionally to the number of levels and subdirectories.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 20:15
Messaggio #4

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




GUI & System Software


Examining the R.P.G. system software is not an easy task: it's somewhat of a stretch, to point out merits and flaws, especially since the latter, to an average programmer, are a matter of editing the sourcecode, compiling and copying the custom nds file; same goes with any missing/desired feature. Therefore, we'll simply take into account what the end user will find upon switching on his/her DS.

First thing first, you'll be greeted by the Zelda theme, with a Triforce in the background on the top screen and a Windows-like "Start button" on the lower left corner.
Both screens are used: the top one shows a calendar, digital clock and the user's nickname, strikingly similar (okay, almost identical) to the DS's own dashboard. The fact that your nickname is shown is another giveaway of how everything is based off the aforementioned libnds, which allow for directly interfacing with the DS firmware data.





On the bottom screen, three icons are placed in the free corners: from top-left and clockwise, you can find the current path and a "parent directory" button, a brightness selector which will actually be effectve only on aDS Lite or a DS "phat" unit with revision 5 hardware, an activity indicator which will flash whenever something is read or written from/to either memory. The overall feel is of a true operating system, which the AKmenu, in fact, is.

Just press the START button: this is the first time we've been presented with such a range of options. The selected file (folders are not yet supported) can be freely managed, you can view its save type, change the card's system settings, show more info on the file/folder/"disk" and take a peek at the User Manual, with a breakdown of each button's function.



The file list is on the bottom screen, which turns out to be pretty standard, icon based and with them pulsating when selected: when at the disk selection screen, you can either explore the on-board NAND, the microSD when inserted and boot whatever is inserted into the DS Slot 2, be it a game or a traditional flashcard, doubling as a third generation PassCard.
For each game/homebrew, the filename and associated icon are shown. Pressing X or selecting "File Info" or "Saver Type", a dialog box will show in-depth information and the option to manually select a save type. Tap the icon to run the selected file, or drag the stylus across the screen to scroll the list: beware, this function is so sensitive you'll be forced to use small movements, or the selection box will move up and down faster than a Ferrari, resulting in you getting back to good 'ol D-Pad in no time.

Now, only .nds and .sav files show up in the browser: this is why music, text files and the like are not supported out of the box. The software update found on the manufacturer's website comes in two flavors, with or without Moonshell 1.71b, which allows for the aforementioned files to be used on the DS. All retail units will ship with it, without risking your average John Doe wondering why he can't do what's advertised on the feature list.

Dulcis in fundo: file management. The AceKard team wasn't happy with dual memory, it seems, adding another absolutely unique feature. The first four options in the START menu read as follow:
  • Copy
  • Cut
  • Delete
  • Paste
No mistake, these options do what they're supposed to do. Copy, move or delete files with just a tap of the stylus, without having to use a PC. Only downside, this applies strictly to games/homebrew and savegames, unless it is added in future system updates/custom versions. Neverthless, it can be useful, even just for swapping savegames with your friends. We put this feature to the test with the above mentioned 120 Mbytes of pure music madness called Elite Beat Agents, with a transfer time of just 60 seconds, 1,75 Kbytes/sec average speed and even auto-trimming (if enabled in the System Settings screen), which worked flawlessly. Some early adopters of the unit spoke about files becoming corrupted after being copied/moved, probably due to the OS being an early build, as our unit showed no problems at all. Not bad, not bad at all!



To sum it up, this is an affordable system software, essential but different from the others. The absence of MoonShell from our unit was a noticeable flaw, but with its inclusion in all retail units this is a virtually nonexistent issue. The real deal is how heavily it can be customized, even down to the card's inner functions, including those compatibility related: download the source, familiarize yourself with DS development and you're ready to fix bugs, add features or just mess with the graphic layout. Yup, it's as easy as it sounds, as confirmed by iDeaS developer Lino.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 21:45
Messaggio #5

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




Compatibility and Performance

We've now reached the most important part of our review, the one you were awaiting for. Naturally, the question is "ok, cool features, but what about homebrew and games?", and our tests will promptly give an answer.



As those who've read our previous articles already know, we utilize a standard set of games, specifically chosen according to their peculiarities or the particular DS hardware they put strain onto. This time, we've updated our list to reflect a few changes Nintendo has made to its game cartridges. Pictured above is our toolkit, made of:
  • Nintendo DS "phat" v3 (con FlashMe v7)
  • Kingston microSD 1GB
  • AceKard R.P.G. 8G PRO
  • Technical sheets, assorted DS games, coffee and more coffee (not pictured)
You'll notice we haven't used a High Capacity microSD: even though this storage media is becoming increasingly popular and affordable, in Italy it's still difficult to find said memory cards, and more often than not they're quite expensive. In order to ensure the same performance an average user will obtain, as well as to find out the card's capabilities when running on an ordinary microSD, we made our decision. Rest assured, though, that the device fully supports the HC standard. Now, on to the actual tests!

Homebrew

No doubt, one of the most interesting uses for a DS flashcard: over the time, an impressive number of homemade software has showed up, turning a simple Nintendo DS into virtually anything, from a (not too) useful kitchen timer to a full-fledged PDA. The R.P.G. includes the now common auto-patching feature: homebrew code will have the relevant DLDI driver applied on the fly, making it easier for programmers and users alike. Here's a detailed report of our findings::
  • BeUP Live! v0.3
    This has been one of th first true communication programs made for the DS. Lightweight and fully functional, works as a perfect stand-alone MSN Messenger client, interacting with both firmware data (for Nintendo WFC connection parameters) and locally stored files. It has been tested on NAND memory.
  • IRC DS v0.3d
    Another "keep in touch whenever you go" homebrew, capable of acting as a substitute mIRC even when/where a PC is not available, supporting a wide range of options and, the author announced, DCC transfers support.Even without being patched, it effortlessly accessed the microSD and saved its configuration file.
  • NesDS build 7-31-2007
    Back from the time videogames were a matter of tiny pixels and hand-drawn backgrounds, we tested the Saint Seiya NES game with this emulator, who had no problem at all. Tested on microSD.
  • ScummVM v0.10.0a
    Back to the past once more: veteran gamers will have fond memories of LucasArts adventures, which can now be emulated, within hardware limitations, on the DS: we opted to keep the games uncompressed and use both storage support on the flashcard. The program ran, detected the game (Beneath a Steel Sky) and ran it at full speed, even when faced with multiple subdirectories.
  • DSOrganize v3.0
    If you were looking for an excuse to bring your DS to your next business meeting, this is it: a full-fledged PDA application in the palm of your hand. The setup process took a while to complete, due to DLDI drivers' self testing, but even so it automatically created a DSOrganize folder in the root (we mistakenly put it into a subdirectory) and worked perfectly, saving and connecting to our router without a single complaint.
  • MoonShell 1.71b
    The media player application for the console: music, movies, text, pictures, it's all there. This program is so popular it was modified and used as a shell for many flash kits. It's bundled with every sistem update eleased by AceKard Team, yet we opted for a clean install. Just make sure you pick the unpatched executable and you'll be fine, but beware: you won't be able to run any homebrew through the shell, as it won't detect an installed DLDI driver. Installed on microSD, no problems detected.
Whatever the promises on the homebrew side, they've been kept: five-star performance, with each program being automatically patched for the relevant storage media, without having the user move a single finger.

DS Games

Here we are, DS games. The following tests were conducted extracting the game from an original cartridge using Rudolph's NDS Backup Tool, then performance data for both media was compared. Here are the results:
  • 42 All-Time Classics - Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection test
    42 ATC
    is maybe one of the most popular online games, along with Mario Kart DS: we weren't expecting troubles from this one, and we were right. Connected smoothly, played smoothly.
  • Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow - video streaming test
    If you were there, when DS flash carts were first released, you'll rmember for sure how troublesome this game was. The second chapter of Soma Cruz's adventures used a different video codec than the usual ACT IMAGINE one. This issue has long since been resolved, and that is the case with the R.P.G. card.
  • Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin - cartridge access speed test
    Truth is, the result of this test is uncertain: this game was released twice it seems, fixing the infamous random freezes bug so many players experienced, even on original Nintendo media. Our copy is an Italian version bough two months ago, and our R.P.G. never hanged up in more than two hours worth of gameplay. Be it due to its increased compatibility, faster storage media or due to the game being a bug fixed version, we are unable to determine. We consider it as "working", though.
  • Elite Beat Agents - 1Gbit dump test
    This test, as the following three, is more geared towards harware-stressing situations. This 1 Gbit large mix of music and madness was handled without a problem, along with its savegame; same goes with our file transfer test, its results described in the previous section.
  • Megaman ZX - cartridge direct access test
    Next chapter of the Reploids' saga, it was one of the first games using direct cartridge access features, requiring firmware/patcher updates for it to work. Nowadays, it's not as troublesome, but we tested just to be sure.
  • Metroid Prime Hunters - full 3D test
    Again, more of a hardware test than anything else. One of the best 3D graphics ever seen on the DS console: it saves and works perfectly.
  • New Super Mario Bros. - 2D/3D hybrid test
    Same as above, although it is sometimes reported that older or slower storage media lead to it hanging up at the minigames screen. Needless to say, we encountered no problems.
  • Trauma Center: Under the Knife - "we like this game, so what?" test
    Err... we just bought this game for our tests (and personal enjoyment), so why not giving it a try? It works. That's it.
  • MySims - Mbit saver type
    As The Legend of Zelda - Phantom Hourglass and Worms: Open Warfare 2, this game is equipped with both that now defeated Macronix security chip and a new 4Mbit saver type, which is somehow checked by the game on boot. This is the driving force behind all those updates major flashcard manufacturers are releasing around every week or so. We were pleased to see that we weren't forced to use fixes or edit the source doce/wait for an update in order to enjoy this title.
Games and saver lifes are managed quickly and efficiently: when first executing DS code, your microSD is benchmarked and the system folder is copied over; after that once-in-a-lifetime procedure, booting is a matter of roughly three seconds, whereas saver backup, performed on rebooting the unit and entering the flashcard's system menu, is almost istantaneous. A note on savegames: they're RAW data with .sav extension, fully compatible with every other flash kit or emulator that uses them, such as the Supercard series. Be careful when using proprietary or compressed files, as they'll need to be converted before use. Also, imported saver files will not be recognised unless you manually select the correct save size before starting the game; a temporary solution is to play, save, then reboot and let it backup the save. Its type now automatically detected, all you have to do is overwrite the newly created .sav with your own, and it's done. Of course, we expect a simplified procedure in future system updates.

Last but not least, a little tale about the team: while we were browsing through the OS, we closed the lid and, upon starting a game, discovered that the audio subsystem had been completely shut down. No speakers' output, no headphones' either. After sending a mail to AK Team, it took them only four hours to get back at us with the explanation, namely a compatibility issue with FlashMe v7, installed on our test unit. We have no doubt the issue will be fixed in the future, neverthless it was a pleasant show of attention towards the end user.

Download Play

As of firmware version 4.05, Download Play-specific routines have been added: the downside is that they break some games and are therefore presented as a feature to be toggled on beforehand. Neverthless, our tests showed no sign of troubled plays.

An award, also, for being the only card, to date, to offer full compatibility with the Wii Linkage featured in Pokčmon Battle Revolution and possibly other Wii titles.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Evrain
messaggio Thursday 27 September 2007 - 21:49
Messaggio #6

The Evra Powwah! (Pirla)
Gruppo icone

Gruppo: Veterani
Messaggi: 10.824
Iscritto il: Fri 24 December 2004 - 19:38
Da: Nosgoth
Utente Nr.: 3.467
Feedback: 0 (0%)




Final Thoughts

Finally this lengthy review has come to an end. Five days of testing and a dangerously high number of coffee mugs gulped down, we're ready to write down our evaluation.
No doubt, in the endless battle for "best Slot-1 card" a new challenger has just entered the arena: the AceKard R.P.G. 8G PRO aims straight for the top and only barely misses it, due to its still undecided packaging and some minor flaws in design. Aside from those, this is the flashcard of choice for power users, thanks to its unbelievably flexible and customizable OS, while keeping it newbie-friendly with perfect compatibility, intuitive file management system, homebrew auto-patching and virtually enormous amount of storage space. If you're about to buy a Slot-1 flashcard, we'd strongly advise to give this AceKard R.P.G. a serious thought.

To reduce everything to a simple list, here's our pro's and con's breakdown:

Pro's
+ Multilanguage interface, intuitive and easy to use
+ 100% compatibility, even with "troublesome" games
+ Dual memory: 1Gb of fast and reliable NAND, up to 4 Gb of next-gen SDHC
+ Integrated PassMe: it even boots GBA games...
+ Fully open source OS, all you need is a compiler and some skills
+ Easily skinnable, even by unexperienced users
+ Excellent manufacturing quality and reliability
+ Internal file management system
+ Almost istantaneous loading/writing of games, programs and savegames
+ The team is always keen on helping and tackling issues


Con's
- If the packaging stays the same, the lack of a mini USB cable will put newcomers at loss of what to do in order to access the NAND chip
- The microSD slot is slightly too large and you need to press the memory card past the flashcard's border, in order to lock it in place
- Absence of an integrated media player: true, MoonShell will be included in the retail package, but we still would've enjoyed something embedded into the OS
- That sticker: okay, it feels so '70, but we hate it. Really, we do.



Review written by Evrain for GBARL.it. Thanks to Nemo_DS for support during hardware tests.
Unauthorized copying and editing is forbidden outside of Network RL.


--------------------
Just keep tryin'
Keep on flyin'
I will be the light...

- from Last Exile: Cloud Age Symphony -


Togisumasareta tsume wo hate ima kagayaku tame ni sono kiba wo muke...
Shiren wa norikoerarenai hito ni osoikakari wa shinai!

- from Megaman X8: Wild Fang -


Proud supporter of EVAC Industry co.ltd.
 Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Closed TopicStart new topic
1 utenti stanno leggendo questa discussione (1 visitatori e 0 utenti anonimi)
0 utenti:

 

Modalità di visualizzazione: Normale · Passa a: Lineare · Passa a: Outline


RSS Versione Lo-Fi Oggi è il: Tue 19 March 2019- 11:28

.: GBArl.it :. Copyright © 2003-2015, All Rights Reserved.
Loghi, documenti e immagini contenuti in questo Sito appartengono ai rispettivi proprietari,
e sono resi pubblici sotto licenza Creative Commons

Creative Commons License
.::.